Friday, 21 December 2012

Hello Darlin

Cute woman with long ringlets and a knitted beret waits. Suddenly a loud booming voice approaches, "hello darling, I just literally pulled my phone out round the corner to find out where you were". She is drawn to her feet by the tall owner of the voice and enwrapped in an embrace. Kisses. And some more. And one last clinching squeeze. And then they move on.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


So far I've lost about 6 stone (don't know exactly because I didn't get on the scales until I'd lost quite a bit). Feel much better, look better, apart from the baggy skin which I am told ought to find its way back over the next year. Eat less and move more has been the methodology. Remarkable to me now that I didn't pay attention to the gain. Just stopped looking in mirrors and refused to admit the problem to self. I've had to buy new clothes because the old ones couldn't be taken in any further. I'm not worried about squashing people when I sit down next to them on public transport anymore.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Brown's for Tea

Work Christmas jolly - we went to Browns for tea. We had a room. Endless sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam and "cakes". Sandwiches and scones were delish. Cakes left a little bit to be desired. There were pastries and violently green (food colouring) macaroons, some mousse thing and a dark chocolate thing. None were particularly good. Finally they brought out a Victoria sponge (which was too dense and had been in the fridge - sure fire way to spoil a cake). I was a little unimpressed. They definitely need a good cake maker.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Friday Night

Bails and I danced like we were raving in a field with a crowd of mostly men at the Brixton Academy. The air smelt like a men's locker room - sweat and old damp trainers. The crowd tried to recapture their youth with drugs and abandon to an Orbital set and light show. Was fun, although we smelt disgusting afterwards.

On the tube going home four dolly birds who were on their way to a night club tried to catch the attention of the cute guitarist opposite us - quite a bit of swaying over on their heels when the train lurched. He wasn't interested in the blond ringlets, tight shiny leggings or pancake makeup - they looked ridiculous in the light of the tube train but perhaps in a darkened club it would be more subtle.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Two tales:

Sara at ceramics sometimes takes her elderly neighbour out for the afternoon. One particular afternoon they went to the Welcome Institute to look at whichever exhibition it happened to be. Turned out to be of Victorian wax models of venereal diseases. Pulling back the curtains on one Pete said, "that's fucking disgusting". Not that keen on the exhibition then!

Kate was camping with her young children in the country. One of them was desperate for a wee but couldn't find his wellies anywhere. Exasperated Kate said just go in your socks. She turned round to find her son trying to figure out how to get his willy into his sock.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Being Crap

I've been so wrapped up in the self for a whole variety of reasons (lots going on at work and lots going on out if work) that I only just today got to the post office to send a parcel to my lovely sister whose birthday was on the 22nd and deserves to be remembered better. Lunchtime post office queues are massive but afterwards I popped over the road to borough market and bought delicious cherry tomatoes and pears. Then passed a chocolatier selling a classic hot chocolate in the style of those Parisian ones Bails and I ran from cafe to cafe guzzling to keep warm against a blisteringly cold Christmas one year. Warm, thick, rich (and small enough not to over do). On this cold, grey, nondescript day it made me happy. A crocodile string of children ran, skipped, hopped and lept past the window. I laughed. Abandon walking in favour of all manner of alternative ways to get along the road. Joy.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Friday lunch

I'm eating very hearty lentil soup out of heavy 70s style crockery at a cafe in Peckham. There's an architect and a builder (who is also a painter) chatting opposite about exhibitions and the weekend. A man who works for a different department than me who I know by sight but never talk to is having a toasty at the table to my left. And on the right a very intense woman in a turquoise jumper is ready a book called "how to be a Christian, and lead a good life". Must shake a leg and get back to work.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


My aunt Delores died today. She had been ill for some time. It's a bummer.

I remember staying with her and Uncle Tom at New Year 1994. We would pick her up from work at 3am and go to the supermarket (a revelation at the time - there were no 24hr supermarkets here then) and buy brownie mix which she cooked up when we got in. Late at night, hot brownies. Lovely. Dad, Uncle Tom, Delores and I were in Las Vegas together (slinging coins into the Elvis slot machines by the bucket-load), driving up and down The Strip and playing Bingo at 10 in the morning. Two ladies were drinking strawberry daquiries. It was all I could manage to keep up with marking off two sheets, Delores had about 6. It was everyday stuff but always a laugh.

Miss you Delores. And thinking of you, Tom.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Dark in the afternoon

Gloomy. All day. And then it got dark at 4.30. Can't stand the closing in of winter straight after the clocks change. It seems to catapult us into the depths of winter in one swift falling-back hour. And soon it will be dark at both the start and end of the day. Won't even see daylight unless you venture forth at lunchtime. I think that's why I have liked snow recently - quick way to lighten up the landscape.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

In search of a plain black polo neck

It might seem a staple needed in every man's wardrobe especially at this time of year. But it seems polo necks have been replaced by roll necked sweaters in the fashion stakes. Been everywhere to no avail. In John Lewis found a navy version. He tried it on for size. Ask if they have them in black. The assistant said, no the closest would be the orange. ??!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


A man walked past the cafe at lunchtime wearing a terrible wig - long reddish brown ponytail , pulled down too far on the forehead.
 Reminds me of my first pony said Kate. I was embarrassed that he had a docked tail so I bought him a hairpiece from Woolworths and tied it on.
Did it work?
Well the hairpiece was blond and curly (being very little choice in Woolies) and the horse was chestnut.
And you found that less embarrassing than having a horse with a docked tail?

Apparently so!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Inching Towards End of Summertime

It's been dark all day. Misty and moist. Not even a glimmer of sunshine. Lights have been on all day. I find it increasingly difficult to stay awake as we get towards 5 o'clock. Sure signs of the approaching winter. My body hates the change of time. Takes ages to adjust.  I feel like I'm going into hibernation already.  Roll on the spring. Or perhaps I need to find bars to go to with roaring fires and warm drinks.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Night bus

Painfully good looking blond boys channelling James Dean in denim. Sitting on the top deck on the way to dalston as the windows steam up. Steamed up windows are not so good for checking the reflection - slightly pained eyes looking out from hooded lids seems to be the expression that requires the most practice. Decanting at Dalston they are replaced by more edgy pissed Hackney-ites. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Play the game

I got sent this picture and a magnifying glass in a mysterious parcel. No instructions or explanation. Today I got an email that look for longer is live. Go now and play the game. The pictures are visual clues to London stations. And there are prizes.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

This week I have mostly been trying to get sacked

So I was sacked as catering manager for the disaster that was carbonara (foolishly thought I could cook it and transport it to another house to be eaten - bad mistake). Anyway I may never need to cook again. Which perhaps takes the pressure off.

This weekend I was also suspended as entertainments manager because after being sent into a crap venue to check out the crowd (was more crowded when I was in the first time than when we eventually went in together - where all the people went in that 15 minute interval I don't know).

Next I'm going to try to be sacked from cleaning duties and advisor to the king.

Fran once told me that she decided early on to be bad at looking for things so that when someone is flapping around looking for the lost item in a less-than calm and orderly way she won't get called on to help because she is so bad at it. Never even crossed my mind to decide what you might be good or bad at. A total revelation. Good thing to work on though!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Crazy Forever

Haven't been offered anything for a while but in a week I received two. The first was tickets to see a show. Yes I'd love to, I said (without reading what it was that I was accepting - something about getting things for free - don't really care what it is, its free!) Anyway it turned out to be a raunchy erotic review transferred from Paris' Crazy Horse Club. Thought about asking Bails but decided that there was a more appropriate companion in my life who might actually really enjoy it. And he agreed to come. It only took the promise of toplessness for him to be in. Excellent. Didn't really fancy going as part of an all female couple to a titty show.

So behind the Southbank Centre they have set up a temporary building with a tent-like theatre inside - drapped in red cloth, lots of bevelled-edged mirrors and a pillar-box sized stage opening. We had platinum tickets which meant we were sitting at the very front at a table. Close enough to see everything. We were sharing the table with a woman who writes for Burlesque Beat (can't link to it becuase it seems to have a trojan infection) - she was hyper excited.

So there were "perfectly formed" women dancers, wearing virtually nothing save for some painted on pubic hairs and a variety of g-strings. Raunchy music and good choreography. Group dances and individual routines. Great lighting effects - sometimes strobe and sometimes contouring across the dancers bodies, poles, stripping and mincing walks. All greatly appreciated by the male companion. Appreciates them were the exact words. I too can appreciate them but found it strangely untitilating.

My favourite was the routine which included a mirror down the centre of the stage with the dancers pushing their hands, then arms up over the mirror so that a double-ended image happened - once the whole body was used it was sort of like some weird siamese twins trying to pull apart from each other. Slightly alien. And then a routine with a man and woman drunk and snorting coke competing with each other drumming on a table in a sort of drug addled river dance. Finally a pole dancing where the dancers were all doing the same routine in slightly different timing which was reminiscent of the dancing in Sweet Charity.

Some men behind were discussing the fact that the women's bodies looked heavily made-up. In the second half the audience loosened up and there was a bit of catcalling. But nothing like the time at Nux Vomica when the stipper of the year played the violin and melted ice-cubes in her vjj - all the men jumped onto chairs and howled like wolves. Stripping was common at Nux but usually involved artistes who were painted green or other artisitic oddities which didn't cause this reaction. After this we suggested to the organiser that maybe it would be good to have a putting-on next time alongside all the taking-off.

Anyway Crazy Forever had a good atmostphere, some interesting choreography and was greatly appreciated by the male portion of the party. Me, I thought it was a little bit tame. Or perhaps I need something else to get turned on - some men perhaps, some smells, slightly different visuals...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Free Timeout

Finally a freebie that is something I actually would have paid to read (unlike the Metro, Shortlist, Sport etc). Free Timeout shoved into my hand this morning. Haven't actually read timeout for a ages - it had me laughing out loud. Not as thick and comprehensive as the pay-for version but a good teaser for getting interested to find out more. Could be time for more exciting going out...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Morning Meeting

Waiting at Highbury and Islington to catch the train to Moorgate. Always the third carriage - because it is closer to the exit leading to the Northern line. Step on and surprisingly frequently bump into him. There is a momentary decision about whether to be cool and wait to be noticed or to be forward and prod the recognition. Those around are often surprised at what may seem like an overly familiar initial meeting. It not being clear what the relationship status is - colleagues, acquaintances, friends, lovers - who's to say initially.  The chat is mildly flirtatious and knowing. Gentle morning teasing. A slight leaning together. Sexual frisson not so common on the train to work. After three stops there is walking to the tube. A game of guess which tie he may be wearing with the shirt he has on and a quick smell for approval of the cologne he has chosen for the day. Then a swift one stop on the tube and he is off with a promise to give me a shout.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Steam Room Talk

Usually the steam room is quiet - a haven of internal thoughts and dealing with the damp heat working over the skin and into the lungs.

This evening a woman sat pontificating about the sizism at the legal firm she works in (I can't tell you the name but it's in Chancery Lane). They take on trainees but they are always blond and between sizes 6 and 10. They take on black male trainees sometimes but none of them have ever been hired. It's not like in America where the best person for the job gets it no matter what or who they are.

Other people in the steam started to look away, raising their eyebrows. She finally left. Then another woman came in and started talking about the lamb curry dinner waiting at home. She was going to open champagne to have with it. The Muslim men in the steam tutted disapprovingly. On a Monday night? Yes she giggled. Lovely. She talked about the method and ingredients she had used. One man said - it means nothing to me, I don't cook. At which she started to harangue him about expecting women to cook, clean and have babies for him - why does he expect women to do these things for him? Because all women are submissive by nature.

Silence in the steam. Lead balloon. I think you should be careful making those gross generalisations, say I. Well don't you think so? He asked. No I don't I said.

Fortunately before I could get in a fight the lifeguard came to ask the women to leave because the male only session had started.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

First visit to the vets

Took the kittens to the vets for their first procedures this week. Philomena was spayed, and Leopold was castrated. Can't tell you how guilty it made me feel. However it was that or incest babies. The girl cat has to wear a cone for 10 days and the boy cat thinks she's some kind of  monster and keeps hissing at her. She keeps trying to walk backwards to get the collar off - to no avail.

Three days later they were due for a check up. Philomena has completely changed personality and went into the basket of her own free will. Leopold put up a fight, scratched and bit me. So I left him behind.

It's all a trauma. And not cheap either!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Morning Coffee

There's this arsehole in Costa's with a group of 7 management students. They are having morning coffee and he is lecturing them (Australian) with gems of cliches from what seems to be an American self help management manual. He just loves the sound of his own voice. His students make lots of notes. The men take him very seriously and the women laugh at his jokes.

At another table a man shows his friend videos of his golfing in Scotland holiday. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Morning make over

She's 40ish wearing a blue suit and doing her makeup on the train. So far she has the panda eyeshadow done and is colouring in her eyebrows.

One of those floating seeds drifts past. She catches it, closes her eyes, makes a wish and releases it.

Then the mascara, looking like torture, flick flicking the brush over the lashes. Curling them with the tongs, eyelid peeled slightly revealing the eye white. Things that should be confined to the bathroom. After that consealer, and then lipstick.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Olympic Hangover

I miss the Olympics. I miss the buzz in the city - all the upbeat happy people sitting around the parks watching big screens. It felt like being on holiday even though I was working. The weather is overcast rather than sunny. I miss the back to back coverage and all the sporting cliches. And the athletes and their amazing feats, wins and losses, emotions. It's sort of lonely in the city now.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Square head

Three Italian people sit down at the cafe next to me. See this man, one woman says, he has a square head. The Russian would have had a square head like that. I look. He certainly does have a square head. I giggle. She notices and laughs embarrassed at being caught bitching. Its a description, isnt it? I can only agree. They carried on talking. He had pale but broad big shoulders, nice legs, very muscly. Nice man. Big square head. Sounds lovely!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What Olympic sport are you built for?

Getting into the Olympic spirit wondering what sport would be easiest for someone in their late thirties to get into. Something less punishing like... Shooting or archery? No need lots of skill. Boxing? Not at this age. Weight lifting? Need strength.

The only sport I was ever any good at was swimming but not in a competitive way.  Never was fast enough - graceful of stroke but no speed. So not built for speed. Handed a massively heavy weight and told to curl it - it was all I could muster not to drop it on my foot. Not built for stength either then. 

What are you built for then?

I could only come up with pleasure. I can be witty, passionate, demonstrative, generous, willing and find quite stupid jokes funny. Might also be built for creation - I like making things, am fairly good with my hands, designing stuff. And although I haven't had any children I have been told by a couple of older people that I was lucky to have good child-bearing hips (one man told me that it was the most common cause of death for younger women in his village - the difficulty of childbirth from narrow hips). Nice to have some appreciation of my wide arse! 

Also I've always been missing that competitive drive that sports people need to make them strive to be the best. Don't know what happened to my dose of it. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Dirty Books

On Friday evening I was in Foyles in the Southbank Centre. They had a three for two table featuring alternative lifestyles - books about circuses and tattooists and underworlds - some of which I had already read. So I picked out three including Nicholson Baker's House of Holes. Time Out said of it an all-out, over the top literary hand job. I wasn't thinking when I bought it. Started reading it on the bus on the way home and had to stop because it was making me blush and I thought people would know I was reading something rude. I've got used to it now and have been reading it on the tube and at lunch in a crowded cafe. Is it wrong to read filth outside the house? Or should it be like dirty magazines confined to secret at home (not that I do that - look at dirty magazines. Oh I'm just digging myself a hole I can see).

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sport, sport, sport

OMG - the Olympics is great. So many great results for team GB. So many crazy sports that I'm suddenly into. Like the kieron (with the wind up motor scootist leading the field), or the omnium elimination where a massive crowd of bikes try not to be last over the line. And Phelps in the pool. And all the posh rowers and sailors. GB women being fantastic. Amazing track and field last night - Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford, golds.  And now that great posturing macho testosterone charged 10 second  explosion - the 100 metres. Love it.

It's so exciting.

Update 2210

All hail his awesomeness the fastest man on the planet. Bolt.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Après Work

Friday. Love Friday. The sun was shining, warm afternoon glow. Me and a mass of tourists were hanging in the Southbank. I bought some books in Foyles in the basement of the Southbank Centre and then headed to Los Iguanas to wait for Bails. Ordered a Cuba Libra which unfortunately came as two-for-one. I sat with my two drinks at the window looking across the outside dining tables. Waiting.

As I waited an unseen pigeon that must have been on a ledge of the bridge (restaurant is nestled into a bridge arch at Hungerford Bridge) pooped onto the cutlery laid on a napkin of the table in the corner. Bad table, I thought. I wouldn't want to sit there. Mental note to self.

Later when I was starting my second drink and Bails had arrived we were watching the second group of people on the poopy table. A woman and two male companions. Divided only by a large window it was almost as if we were sitting at their table. They pretended not to notice us. Until the woman, swirling her drink managed to flick a chip of ice into the neck of her shirt. Ooo cold. Attempting to pull it out, all five of us laughed. Shortly afterwards one of her friends was pooped on by a pigeon. Gross. She laughed. He laughed. I thought he took it well. Better than I would have. Bails said at least it wasn't a seagull - from personal experience she says their poops are huge. Double gross.

When we were leaving the woman wrote a note on her phone and showed us through the window: bet you weren't expecting the entertainment. No indeed. Up for a laugh some of these tourists.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mens Water Cooler Moment

Have you been watching the Olympics?
I sat down on the first day and watched six hours of cycling. I'm thinking what am I doing, I don't even like cycling. And it's carried on pretty much like that. I've come  into work for a rest to be honest with you. I'm watching sports I have no interest in, never had. I mean archery. What am I doing watching archery?
How much of the beach volleyball have you watched? *Nudge nudge*

Evening Chill

Walking along old street from the roundabout, it's a warm summer Olympic evening. A couple pass me - he's tall and broad wearing half a suit, in his shirtsleeves. She at first appears to have very broad sloping shoulders until I pass close enough to see he has lent her his suit jacket, which fits her like an oversized coat. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


The sun goes down in a clear sky - orange orb with an orange glow. Dipping below the trees across a park's paddock, recently mowed, sparsely populated with a couple of groups of people. In the sky planes cross like comets trailed by their exhaust. I'd like to be on one. Going somewhere. Anywhere exotic would do. With a beach and some sea. No pressures.

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Three young men hanging out in the Brunswick Centre (it has now lost the centre from its name - probably in a rebranding exercise - calls itself The Brunswick). They chat. One of them ogles the legs of a woman (30ish) wearing short shorts and high heels. Surrepticiously. She may not notice the individuals noticing but I am sure she knows she has the power.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Lunchtime seduction

A man and a woman meet in Costas for lunch. He arrives first and chooses a table, securing it with his suit jacket slung over the seat back. He joins the queue. She arrives, he directs her to their table. She has brought in a sandwich from Pret a Manger. She takes off her jacket and sits down. He brings over hot drinks and moves his chair closer than 180 degrees around the table. They talk. He seems keen. He reaches out a hand and strokes her thigh under the table, comments on her dress, moves his knee into a position where she will feel his heat through their clothing. She doesn't touch him at all. She seems contained. She puts her hands together in her lap. He looks into her eyes while they talk, taking large bites of his sandwich. And all too soon it is time to leave and get back to work. She brushes crumbs from his trouser leg before they get up. And then they go.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Eating small box of food in Beatroot on Berwick Street. It's a pathway. Lots of people passing in both directions between Soho and Oxford Street. Records shop fans, gays and tourists. The fruit and veg men are rearranging their stall.

A couple - bears (big moustaches and bald) each carrying a chiwauwa. An older man in shorts and walking shoes with bare legs telling his companion that you can also buy false eyelashes there (wherever there is). Three youths walk past, double take, walk into Beatroot and come straight out again (probably carnivorous). An old lady in purple and white ankle boots and white fur collared coat.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Yo! Where is everyone?

It's 10 o'clock. Working late. Popped in on the way home to save cooking.

2 cucumber maki
1 vegetable yakisoba
And a pumpkin karaoke

Just me, five staff and 10 sad plates of food going round. They are going to be chucked. 

It's hard eating slippery noodles with chopsticks. But they are hot and freshly made by a very attentive chef (nothing else to do but wait for closing). 

Used to go to the first one in Poland street and after go to yo below which had the added advantage of ashtrays that sucked the smoke inside them - great in the days of smoke filled bars (remember them - coming home stinking of fags and having to wash your hair before bed because the smell coming off it kept you awake).

Saturday, 7 July 2012


Shopping in town - bumped into the architect who designed the renovation to our building at work with his beautiful wife who was a bit taken aback by our greeting (perhaps a bit warmer than might be expected in Habitat sale room). Walked over to Apple store for a new headset and the assistant gave me one because there weren't any boxed up ones - making it free - nice. Now in the ICA listening to funky jazz with a mixture of arty types, photographers and clients working and stragglers from London Pride which is in coming to a close outside (main event over, peripheral venues overflowing).

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cycling in the wind

At the end of a warm June day cyclists criss cross the intersection where I'm sitting. The wind is blowing up the sleeves of my jacket and chilling my armpits. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow. With showers.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Yoko Ono Private View, Serpentine Gallery

I've gotten here too early - I'm a guest at the regular old Private View for the plebs and there is still half an hour of the Special Private View (for the Special People) before I can go in. I've persuaded the lady with the list to let me into the compound to sit and get a drink. (Don't want too much mingling of the plebs and the VIPs). I'm trying to see whether I recognise any of the special people, but at the moment I'm not sure that they aren't all plebs waiting for our time... Maybe I should get nearer. They've just relaid the lawn and there are stewards on every corner trying to keep the crowd from spilling onto the grass.

There are rich Knightsbridge people here - you can tell by the clothes and the shoes and the mwah mwahing on air cheeks. There are some fabric designers sitting next to me talking about clients, contracts and designs.

The Work

A film, in real time, of Yoko's eye staring you out. She doesn't blink for a really long time. Finally she closes her eye, slowly. It looks painful to do it. Then it opens again and starts staring once more.

Two films showing opposite each other. Both called cut piece, one from 1965, the other from 2003. The audience is invited to cut the clothes off Yoko. She is still and deadpan. People snip small bits of fabric off. Until someone goes for it and cuts something big off (in 1965 it's her slip which reveals her brassier, in 2003 it's her skirt which leaves her sitting in bra and pants). These things happen quite far into both films and by that time I was outraged by someone coming up and exposing her so suddenly. Somehow the 60s version felt more exploitative.

Fly on a nipple film - totally freaked me out, and some other woman standing next to me. Close up of bottoms walking - reminded me how I like that bit of a person. Quite like to feel a bottom as it walks along (if someone will let you!)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

New Cats

So last weekend, Susanna and I drove up the A1M to Glaisdale in the North York Moors to collect my new kittens (its a long way to go for a cat but they are bred by Susanna's uncle and come from a very good mouser - which considering my most recent affliction at home was important in the decision making).

The kittens were decidedly stand offish while we were staying in Yorkshire. Didn't like being touched much but did play with string. Getting them into the box wasn't as difficult as I expected and they didn't make a peep all the way home (5 hours). Let them out at home and they promptly hid. I'd forgotten from the previous time we got cats that they did that.

For the next 2 days I gradually tempted them out (the girl likes cooked chicken, the boy eats anything) playing with corks on string (excellent simulation of a mouse I think). They still are stand-offish though - its hard not to feel rejected when they hide the minute you come in their general direction and hiss with arched backs if you put a hand in their direction.

Its a week now - I've managed to stroke the boy - his purr is fantastic. The girl is still shy but at least has stopped hissing.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Most Irritating Laugh In The World

She's sitting very close by with a big group if friends and her laugh rings out loudly like a machine gun. Waaahhahahahaaa. Haahaa. Ah hahahaha. It's like that Billy Connelly routine about the primordial laugh that exists in each of us that comes out when we least, and most embarrassingly, expect it. Only hers is always like it. Gunning for us with laughter.

Two Men Talking

In the pub waiting for the football to start. At the next door table two men are talking.

I like her. She's younger than me. 10 years younger I think but the age gap doesn't seem to matter...

A couple of tiny Latino women are looking for a seat. The men offer them space at their table. Everyone moves seats so they can accommodate a new party at the table.

But that's not just knocking the door mate, that's trying to open back the relationship.

A man slaps two drinks down on my table and sits down without checking if that is ok. It is ok but it's politer to ask. His partner is noticeably drunk.

...should build a house and then sell it.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Kingsland Road

Its just me and the crazies walking in Kingsland Road. I'm walking from Church Street to Shoreditch. The crazies are just walking or hanging in various states of dispair. At the canal end there are lots of arty types on bikes - vintage 40s dress, trouser legs tucked into red socks with black spots, and the rest. It's a funny road with niches of activity around the villages of Stoke Newington and Dalston and then Hoxton and Shoreditch. Long periods of nobody using the pavement. Clearly a weird way to walk!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


As I was walking from home to Wood Green I saw:
  • a black laborador in the park with three legs
  • a man on crutches with one leg
(I'm imagining this like that rhyme my mother used to tell us - as I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives, seven wives had seven somethings ... how many were going to St Ives - clearly I can't remember all the words).

Monday, 4 June 2012


On the 476 riding to town. At Stamford Hill I noticed a man running with a red knapsack. The bus wasn't going particularly fast and we cat and moused him along to Stoke Newington Station. Then our bus went round the one way system along church street, down Albion Road and round Newington Green. Stopping at the next stop the running man went past. He was listening to music and keeping a steady pace it seemed to me. The bus pulled off and took over him on the corner of the road that turns towards crossing Balls Pond Road. I was surprised he kept up the cat and mouse all the way along Essex Road eventually loosing him as we reached Islington Green. I changed from the 476 at Angel onto a 19 that pulled up behind. Went upstairs and sat down as he ran past again. He switched routes to follow the 19 and I spied him again running past Sadlers Wells. He kept pace with us all along Rosebury Avenue, past Grays Inn and along towards Holborn. He caught up with us again at New Oxford Street and I watched him take off into the distance of Oxford Street proper. Awesome running I thought. Even though he was just running, not competing or anything. Alive. Wish I knew where he was heading for. Something inspiring and sexy about it.

Friday, 1 June 2012


An elderly male character in the book I'm reading was talking about his recently deceased wife saying, "I did pretty damn well, I'll tell you that. You snag a woman like that, you don't ask what you did to deserve it. You just hope she never wises up and changes her mind." (The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson)

It made me smile - is that the key to longevity in a relationship - to think everyday how lucky you are to have bagged your partner?

Friday, 25 May 2012


So I've been talking to anyone who will listen about my mid-life crisis. Haven't managed to buy a flashy sports car yet but have been advised to go to a agency and get placed in a better job with more, different challenges. I have taken every opportunity to go out - drank cocktails at Browns made by a funny Irish barman and watched the sunbathers on Islington Green who stayed until the dark was truly fallen, next day went with the ceramics crowd to our favourite place and sat outside in the balmy evening pretending we were in some exotic neighbourhood abroad. Been persuaded by some tres cute pictures to get two kittens who will be great mousers (can get them at 10 weeks when their mother will have trained them up fully). So there's some inkling of change - not sure it's dramatic enough yet...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sun's Out

Sun is out
Park is full
Office workers and tourists stretch out to catch some rays
Dog walkers can't play ball and stand on the pavement bemused
Hippy yoga guy isn't out
Doesn't feel quite hot enough for strapless maxi dresses but that hasn't stopped anyone

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern

Started with paintings that were like deep voids - I liked them - reminded me of some drawings I did once where the blackness is space. Then some works om paper. Intricate and obsessional paintings using small identical brushstrokes built up. Beautiful. Almost like optical illusions. A sign on the wall warned that the film inside had some explicit content. Inside Self Obliteration was showing - towards the end, hippy soundtrack, images overlaid, orgy of naked people painting dots on each other and smearing paint in a disco with flashing lights, mad expressionist dancing like some kind of explicit roll-in-the-mud festival. Hands everywhere but no hard-ons. A simulation of sex? Guess which was the most crowded gallery...

Installations came next. Shoes, clothes, boats, chairs, rooms covered in sewn phalluses. Then the room of fluorescent dots with ultraviolet light making them and anyone wearing white shine. I tried not to smile - remembering clubs where you look freaky with your white teeth catching the ultraviolet. And everyone has white dust. And finally some amazingly zingy paintings with eyes and faces, followed by the fabulous Infinity Mirrored Room filled with the brilliance of life - which was us and lots a coloured lights reflected back through the mirrors and the floor. Hippy trippy. Makes me want to embrace the altered mind-state...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Friday night

Gigging with Bails and Paul in Camden Town. Reminiscent of our youth. Crowded into Barfly with a stamp on your hand so you can come and go but doesn't wash off for a couple of days. Jayce Lewis leapt around the stage flinging his hair around singing loudly to loud electronic music played at slightly less than ear splitting volume. There were a load of Belgian teenagers on who didn't seem to get it as much as the ageing rockers who seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. There was one goth exhibitionist wearing only pants and a basque. Reminds me of the days in the late 80s when I liked those kind of boys with dyed black hair cut sharply with shaven sides and there would be drag queens in the ladies loo. And there would be one night bus an hour which would get greatly overcrowded with a raucous party atmosphere upstairs.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Itchy Feet

I've suddenly noticed that it is light at 9pm. Summer evenings are creeping up on us. I'm having a serious case of itchy feet - it started about 2 weeks ago - need for change that is driving me to distraction. It's only getting worse. It's transferring itself to a need for perpetual motion - can't sit still and focus for too long, concentration span is decreasing and boredom threshold has shrunk to minuscule proportions. I'm currently sitting in the pub trying to take the edge off with some hard liquor. I'm reading the paper, listening to a new playlist very loudly to drown out the pub's sounds, and writing this post. I wonder if I'm having a mid-life crisis. Maybe I should buy a fast car and exercise the need for speed. I could realise my ambition of being a jerk in a Merc.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

39 and 36 months

So the birthday came again - while I like the parties I don't like adding up the numbers. A few years ago I started having BBQs to celebrate. May in London is slightly early for cooking outside and mostly I BBQ in the rain. This year it was glorious sunshine which considering the downpour that was April was a minor miracle.

I was cutting up tomatoes and managed to slice into my left thumb - strangely similar in texture (they were firm salad tomatoes) and I forgot to stop cutting. Fingers bleed. A lot. And it's hard to administer first aid to oneself while holding your thumb over your head wrapped in a cloth, opening a plaster with the other hand and your teeth.

Later we chucked some logs on the fire pit and smoke-burned our eyes as the dusk drew in - smoke gets in your eyes, yes it does drifting all over the place. Next day I felt that smoke had permeated my skin even after bathing a washing hair. Nice for a mountain man not so good in a London open plan office.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Nom nom nom (as it says in that dog-treat ad)

Bails cooked up a heap of yummy root spinach. (Not my idea of delicious but this isn't my story). Piled it up on the plate. Dug the fork in and raised it to her mouth, opened wide and then a massive caterpillar dropped out. (Cooked caterpillar - not sure whether that made it swell up or whether it was enormous before cooking). At least it wasn't half a caterpillar, or something more disgusting like a slug or cockroach...

Saturday, 5 May 2012


At Pizzadelique after ceramics this week we were talking about words that were invented by writers which are such common usage now that it's surprising they weren't always in usage. Specifically that Lewis Carroll invented the word chortle - a combination of chuckle and snort. This is a word that just sounds like a word from old English. Googling (first used July 1998, added to OED June 2006) this I came across a no-longer updating blog, Heredotus Wept, that had posted about this.
Words invented by Milton
Words invented by Shakespeare

Words that Shakespeare invented
What did we used to call eyeballs before Shakespeare coined the term, when we undressed did we have to say "I am taking my clothes off or was it unrobe or something"? And were ladybirds just red beetles with black spots?

Without Milton nothing could be terrific, and there would be no fragrance.

It's the glory of language. Love it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Turd Taboo

Since I don't have children or a dog I have never overcome my aversion to discussing this taboo (no nappy changing, or poopy scooping for me, apart from when I visit my sister for whom it all features quite prominently with two young children and a dog). I still believe in trying to maintain a sense of mystery and don't like passing wind in front of people. And what I am about to tell you is far from any actual real live events.

So I had this dream that was very vivid.
Waiting for a 341 bus in the middle of the night. There was no one around and it was dark. I needed a poo (sorry if this forthrightness is grossing you out), so I did it by the side of the bus stop. Me and the turd carried on waiting. The bus took hours before arriving and I was still waiting in daylight when my sister, her kids and dog met me at the bus stop. We waited together. My sister told me off for not getting rid of the turd. I didn't think anyone would know it was me. She thought they would definitely know. Gradually the bus stop became more crowded and the turd was noticed. When the bus came we ran and jumped onto it. I never owned up.

Even though this was about a gross subject I didn't feel guilty about the act or disgusted. I only felt like I should have but didn't want to get rid of it. Who knows what it all means but perhaps we should gamble on the turd man for the Turner Prize this year (it may be that only the Metro thinks of Paul Noble this way).

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Late spring

This is the second year in a row that at this time of year I look out and think that the garden has too much purple and nothing else. It's slightly too early for the yellow poppies and the daffodils are all go e. I need some late spring yellow and red to balance the purple.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

April Showers

Hosepipe ban
April showers like they used to be
A month's rain in 72 hours
Still not lifting the hosepipe ban (not that anyone actually wants to use one this week)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Mother Recollection

Getting ready to head into town - need a zip from John Lewis. I looked out into the garden after the rain - the sun was shining on the lush spring green. A blackbird took a worm into the honeysuckle. Maybe she has a nest in there. Looked at my eye in the compact mirror and noticed a couple of grey hairs amidst the brunette tied up in my towel turban. Got a massively strong recollection of mother.

We would catch the 29 to Camden Town and chage onto a C2 which takes you down Albany Road, passes over Euston Road and brings you to Regent Street stopping at Oxford Circus - back route to town dropping off for shopping. It would always include a visit to Ponti's on the corner opposite BHS and the London Fashion College. We'd share a cream cheese and tomato sandwich and an eclair. Only ever half each, never one each (not sure why). Chance for a cup of tea for mum (massive tea drinker) or a milky coffee. Then we'd go to the shops with her mother's money (which is what she called child benefit - don't know why).

I think she and my sister would do the same. Mother and daughter time.

London Bloggers

Template update has raised lots of issues - DG commented yesterday that the updated further reading list is now much shorter than the list of those on hiatus. So many bloggers have stopped or moved onto other things (tweet anyone, Facebook?). Thinking it might be good to bolster my dwindling further reading list i had a look at London Bloggers. It used to be a list of bloggers (mostly personal or themed) by tube station. Now there are fewer listed and a much higher proportion of businesses blogs and adult themed. Less useful to find what I think of as fellow bloggers - interesting, writing or photo driven blogs by individuals about things that interest them (rather than work, politics, about America). So still searching...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Sidebar sorrows

So now its righthanded rather than on the left hand side (don't know why I prefer it so much being on the left (perhaps I read it more becuase it comes first) I checked through the links to other blogs - both the further reading and haitus sections.

Sadly some of those in the haitus section have deleted what was left of their blogs. I prefer to leave the old archives there because when I've read something for a while it seems like erasing someone to get rid of the link completely. Its sort of like address books - even though I may have lost touch with those whose numbers I have I don't like to chuck them out. Eventually the numbers are totally wrong and there is no way to be back in touch - too many moves, too many changes of numbers. Properly lost touch. It becomes a historical document of all those who you have known at some point. Much like this I've left the names of some of these blogs there to remind me who I used to read - there are some that I went to daily, who I met in real life. I'm not quite ready to erase them from my memory yet. (You can probably tell I am a hoarder by nature).

Happily a couple have stopped being on haitus. So that's nice.

template trouble

Checking back its been 9 years since I started blogging and I'd customised my old template lots - colours, sidebars etc. Liked it and was used to it. But recently there were some hitches. Blogger also changed its user interface making it almost impossible to fix the comments issue without first changing to a new 'dynamic' template. Which basically means they have control not me. I can't figure out how to give the header a subheading which would allow me to make a londoners life back into times italic and smaller than the overall heading. So it looks rather heavy and clunky now. Not at all like it was intended in the beginning to emulate the Guardian. Anyway, maybe I'll learn how or someone will point me in the direction I need to go to try to make changes to the html/css of the template or maybe I'm stuck with it (self taught on the html/css front so its a bit tricky when making changes). Also can't figure out how to get a slide show to work on the header so the little javascript I had above the heading is also gone. One of my fav bits. Its all so much less controlable and therefore less creative. boo hiss.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Dog-walking holiday

Went to Dundee over the easter weekend to spend time with the Sis while her family were away visiting the grandparents (dog not welcome). Spent the days dogwalking with some human activities thrown in. Weather was changeable - sun, rain, cold, windy, spring, winter.

Sis had a massive hole in one boot so we didn't walk far when it was pouring. Dry winter meant it hadn't mattered to replace the fav boots and now that the April showers were coming it was proving difficult to find a new pair, although we did try - visiting many shoe shops including the 'best' of the area in St Andrews. Almost got a pair in the walking shop but despite the longest walk-around-a-shoe-shop trying to emulate the elongate stride of outside eventually they were turned down as too high under the ankle bones with the potential for bad blisters while wearing them in.

Its something I only noticed about dog people when I started having lunch near City Hall - they are a group, they talk (mostly about their dogs) and acknowledge each other and know each other's dog's names. This trip Sis took me to all the best dog walking parks. We met a lot of people in various parks of Dundee and the surrounds. (A couple of trips ago she took me to all the Tescos in Dundee so this was at least an introduction to the outside. Better photo opportunities at least.) All sorts of ages and breeds (people and dogs). Lots of discussion about behaviour, parks, good walking grounds, road sense training...

She has what I learned is a 'swimming spaniel'. Dog that loves the water (unless its in the shower at home - because I kept commenting on the lovely eau de dog that was about him and his blankets she gave him a wash which much improved him) and has to get in wherever possible - beach, brook, puddle. Other dog owners know about this - not all dogs like to get wet apprarently but labradors and spaniels are keen (trying to lock this knowledge away somewhere in case it is useful at some point).

Me, I just like a change of scenery sometimes - large sky, dramatic weather, walk on the beach.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


Up the east coast it is lambing season. Lots of little lambs on the hillsides with their mothers between Darlington and Durham.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

April showers

Then rain - heavy and probably localised because I can see a different sky in the near distance. Tree blossom floats in the down-pouring.
A patch of blue sky in the dark grey cloud.
Rain lightens off.
April showers.
Cluster of people at the supermarket door - unwilling to make a run for it in the rain. Some kids wait for it to abate under a bus shelter. Two of them play fight.
The rain stops but doesn't clear up.
Later it's spitting again. Weather continues to swing between spitting and pouring for the whole grey day. Not enough to fend off the drought.
On the way home, bus windows are streaming. A man rides past on a unicycle.

Flush and leak

So first the toilet stopped flushing easily and you had to pump the handle like mad in the hope that it would eventually go. Then I noticed the brown stain on the dining room ceiling under the bath.

Instead of getting a plumber immediately we opened the side of the bath and were very confused by the totally dry pipes underneath. Investigating further discovered the bath water went by pipe outside the house so probably wasn't the cause of the leak.

Finally called British gas to come and see to the toilet. They changed the mechanism inside. Great flushing restored. But then a drip developed through the dining room ceiling. Called them back. They came on Saturday night. Looked under the bath. Looked at the pipes outside. Took some tiles off in the bathroom to look at a pipe that went to the electric shower (long ago condemned which I haven't had replaced yet). Then had to investigate the ceiling. Stuck a screw driver into the plasterboard very easily because it was sodden. Made a little hole. Then cut a bigger hole. Found a completely soaked beam that was dripping off a nail onto the ceiling. Cut another hole further along the ceiling to see where the leak came from. The culprit was the toilet overflow. Man who changed the flusher also adjusted the level of water to overflow. So it wasn't still leaking. Over a year of leakage to cause the soddenness of the beam.

Called my insurance company who at first were unwilling today for the ceiling and would only pay for the beam. Until I persuaded her that since water was dropping through it had to be in scope.

My learning point here is - don't ignore those brown stains on the ceiling because they are symptomatic of potentially larger problems. Must be a better house owner...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lost time and spring

It was Sunday evening before I realised that the clocks had sprung forward on Saturday night. iPhone helpfully changed itself and I clearly wasn't looking at the numerous other clocks around the house (one in the kitchen, one in the hall, one in the living room, not to mention the microwave, cooker, humax). I was shocked when I discovered that I was behind all day.

I watched my blossom tree bloom as the day went on. Full of bees - seem to be different sorts to me. And one peacock butterfly. And of course the sparrows, blue tits, great tits, chaffinches, robin. I love spring. The warmth of the sun, blue skies and flowers. Lovely.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Blogging Template Troubles

Haven't had a template issue for years until recently when the comments facility was acting up. Its taken a few days but I've been onto support and its all fixed now (I hope). Its linked to the new google/blogger redirect to local addresses apparently.

In the old days, at the exciting beginning of blogging career I used to tinker with the template regularly, updating the links and stuff, changing the pictures on it. I haven't done this for so long that I've forgotten how - inching through HTML code to find the appropriate script. Its a level of detail that doesn't lend itself to a friday night after a week at work. Its also why I still use an old blogger template with none of the new bells and whistles that I could have if I upgraded to a new template (I'm too attached to the colour panels and can't be bothered to remind myself how to recode this onto a new template). I wonder how long I would have to spend to really learn this stuff.

Been using pinterest quite a bit - it reminds me of what blogging used to do (point you to interesting things on the internet that you wouldn't find easily) but in a visual form. Its social in that you can following different pinners and find ones who are interested in the same stuff as you (which is how you used to gather a bloggers to your bloglist) and can show you stuff that you like (I've got a collection of ceramics pictures - searching for inspiration and artistic rather than pottery ceramics amongst other things). The only bad part of it is you have to be invited to join in (the exclusivity may make some people feel like they are in a club but I would prefer it to be open). I like it better than facebook and twitter though. It has more purpose, maybe.

Ceramics Class Spring Term 2012

Its been a term where I seem to have glazed all insides with Egyptian Blue. I'm channelling David Attenborough's frozen planet contrasting white and dark clays with deep blue insides like lagoons or icebergs. Its not so good on the jug (its not food safe - poison in the glaze). I hadn't realised how much of the work I made this term had a blue inside until I started putting a group of pictures together.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday Evening

In a bubble. Sitting in a dark bar lit by a bright yellow display of spirits. Its on a junction by a major thoroughfare - cars rushing to other placces. The radiator is on inside. The sky outside is very dark. Jazzy swing music is playing in the background to the jabber of people chatting.  A man at the next table snogs his girlfriend who is sitting in his lap as her friend plays gooseberry and buys more champagne. Outisde London is grey and cold and March. Inside it wouldn't be a suprise if flappers were dancing on tables in the other room to a band full of brass. A man walks past with two bulldogs that are interested in everything. Another man crosses the street with his son. A woman drags twin children on three-wheel scooters across the street - one in each hand. Neither child seems to have mastered the fact that they need to propel the scooter using their foot - so they just stand on the platform without moving. World goes by. Looking out from the bubble.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Shopping in town mid-week (had a couple of days off) is not like the weekend when the people hit the shops in a frenzy of buying as if the end of the world is nigh. No, mid-week shopping is a whole other ball-game. The shops are relatively empty, there are plenty of shop assistants to help. In John Lewis there were twinsets and pearls, and burberry donkey jackets with loafers and dark blue jeans, Queen's English and large shopping totes. Fur-lined collars are real. Purchasing with a slower pace.

I was looking for a new pair of glasses - its been rather tricky - the brand that I had which snapped are not stocked anywhere in London anymore and the styles in the majority of opticians are just too middle-of-the-road. I'm looking for something a little more unusual. I even tried the place in Covent Garden that only lets a limited number of people in the shop at any one time and makes the frames specially for you (delivery takes up to 6 weeks, costs £300 for the frame which I wanted and can't be paid for in installments). I finally found a place with an old fashioned style - leather seats and consultation booths but carrying quite an unusual range. The new purchase may help me get over the trauma of snapping my old pair. The lady in the opticians thought I had a very good eye. Suits you!

It has been one of those days when I felt like I was bunking off work. I enjoyed it greatly but felt guilty - like I should have been somewhere else...back to work tomorrow though.

Friday, 9 March 2012


We've just finished an intense week being inspected. That concludes an intense four week preparation period. Lots of long working days. And that's the end of an intense couple of years of work. We stayed in a pub b&b walking distance from work. Great for getting in early to be ready for them first thing in the morning. Bad because it was really only b [bed] and no b [breakfast] and the local cafes didn't open until I had already arrived at work. We checked in on Sunday, in the preparation to get there I snapped my glasses in half at the nose bridge. Not sure if they will be repairable. My favourite glasses. Then the first morning my hair clip snapped and not being at home I didn't have a replacement. On the second morning I dropped the other clip down the sink and had to unbend a coat hanger to rescue it. I forgot to take any pjs. Despite all these mini disasters people said I exuded calm all week (in total opposition to the nervous anxiety raging through me) which is seemingly a good trait in the link person on an inspection.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Mousecapades II... The Return

In the fight against the mouse mice I borrowed these humane traps from Pops, being a vegetarian and all, I didn't really want to kill them, just get them out of the house. I forgot though that once you catch something you have to get rid of it.

One of the traps had been under the cupboard under the sink for weeks and hadn't caught a thing. Suddenly one evening, really late, I heard  mad scrabbling and just knew a mouse was caught. The trap was shut when I got it out from under the cuboard. I had to shake it to be sure there was actually a mouse inside (they are very light) and still wasn't certain until I opened the flap slightly and saw its horrible hairless tail. So then where to get rid of it.... took a trip to the local park at 2am and dumped the mouse out. The trouble with this is that a) it isn't a neighbourly thing to do, and b) someone told me that they have a very good sense of smell and homing instinct and you have to take them at least 2 miles to get them lost. So the following day when I caught another one in the same trap it may be a second mouse or  it may just have been the same mouse returned home again and foolish enough to go in the trap again. I had to take this one to the park at 3pm. Not as easy to dump a mouse in broad daylight. I'm thinking traps that kill them might be better next time.

Anyway its four down so far...

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I thought the mouse problem that arouse just after Christmas had gone away (no evidence of them for several weeks now) but when I came home today I stepped on something as I passed down the hall to switch off the alarm. I turned the light on and I found it was a mouse in the last thoes of life. And then it died. I have to say I felt really guilty. And then revolted because I had to sweep the corpse into a bag to dispose of. As I chucked it into the outside bin I found one of the neighbourhood stray cats sitting on my gas meter and I tried to make friends with her (I've been thinking a cat is the answer for a while) but she was having none of it.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Night at the Museum

Late opening at the Natural History Museum. Always an atmospheric place, only more so in the evening with the light low.

The place was heaving with adults - dining all around the diplodocus in the main hall and an excitable hubbub in the makeshift bars. The dinosaur exhibition was quiet (unlike during normal opening hours when it is frequently too crowded to see anything). Palaeontology has moved on considerably since I was in primary school (when I, like most people, loved dinosaurs). The names and species have changed massively - there used to only be about 3 - T-Rex, stegosaurus, brontosaurus and pterodactyl (which I learned was not a dinosaur because it flew rather than walked on the land). We had to go back to the T-Rex exhibition when they had managed to turn the air back on to get him moving again (something about someone not reprogramming for the evening opening).

On the way home I waited for the bus at Euston. A very drunk white haired woman was sitting in the bus stop. On seeing a man crossing the station she shouted loudly (I was quite surprised), "have you got a big cock? Cos you've got a big arse". The other passengers waiting were shocked. The man didn't hear her. Everyone else tried to ignore her.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

David Hockney at the Royal Academy

Got tickets in advance for the Hockney. I was quite excited to go. Apart from the fact that the Royal Academy is a horrible gallery to visit (too many people of a particular sort).

The galleries were packed - it was like trying to look at art in a crowded Friday night bar. The pictures are, in the main, huge and to see them properly you need to be able to be a distance away from them. Not possible in the crowd. Timed entry - at 3pm all of us entering then are crammed into the first room - couples, families, people in from the burbs, tourists, buggies, toddlers, arty oddballs, arty ordinaries etc. The pictures are the four seasons view of a group of three trees. Winter and summer are my favourite. Then led into a small retrospective of pictures that are very familiar from the 50s, 60s that were in a book that my mum had. And one huge grand canyon picture. A mixture of styles - some very flat with words, some very colourful. In the body of work from Yorkshire I liked the collection of oil and water colours. Sometimes the themes felt over-worked - it became a little formulaic. The huge paintings that are being used to advertise the exhibition are impressive only in scale and are somehow too composed, seem rushed and lacking in emotion. A bit too much like wallpaper. iPad drawings blown up were interesting while being varied in quality. Film work - liked the films of the landscapes in the paintings but not so much the dancing in the studio (not developed enough - I felt the idea could have gone further). Perhaps the abundance of similar composition and mass of paintings detracted from the ideas. I might have preferred greater selection. I also couldn't get over the crowds. It was claustrophobic.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Emmanuel Cooper

Emmanuel Cooper, ceramicist, died

Opened the Ceramic Review and found that Emmanuel Cooper had died on 21 January. He taught on the ceramics course at Middlesex University when I was there. He was a memorable character with his white handlebar moustache and clogs, and his writings on eroticism in art. I am interested in his work because of its excitingly textured glazes and deceptively simple forms. His prominence in books on ceramics and glazes says everything about his importance in the field.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Bruce Castle Park

So after the excitement of watching the snow falling last night got up early and headed over the park (after scaping the snow and ice off the pavement outside my house - friends in Wisconsin would be proud of me). It was beautiful.

bruce castle park (9)

The snow was perfect for making snowballs and building snowmen. There were lots and many of them were huge.

(If you look closely the last one is actually a snowlady - two early teens made a couple of additions to a not-quite-finished snowman).

Saturday, 4 February 2012


It's snowing. And settling. We're cloaked. It's the third year in a row we've had snow like this.

It's night but the whiteness of the sky and the ground make it very light.

Big Chill

Big Chill

The big freeze is here - a dry cold like it is in Wisconsin in the winter. There has been blue sky, biting wind, intermittent ice on the road where there's a leak or spillage. Today the sky is white - threatening snow. Ground is frozen and solid. All the bird baths frozen solid. The type of cold that reminds you how delicate the inside of your nose is and cracks your lips. The plants in the garden are gaunt. The grass has frozen. My red camilla blooms are turning brown.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Blues

January time is nearly over - thank god. I hate January. It's always like this - gloomy and miserable. Everyone is having to recover from the excesses of the winter holiday  - they don't have any money and they aren't up to anything exciting. 

Add to that the Olympics fever is up another notch - its like the count down to Christmas now but with added warnings of worst ever commuting nightmares.  I was sort of hoping to go to David Hockney exhibition  - there would be some colourful antidote to the January blues but it's sold out which means it will be heaving with all those royal academy sorts that make seeing an exhibition rather frustrating. And I don't really want to queue for ages in the cold on the day. 

I'm watching that Danish political drama called Borgen but can't decide if it's any good or if it's the subtitles and foreign language that make it seem that way. Some of the "clever" solutions to political problems seem a  bit too straightforward. Still it fits I. With the general interest in Scandinavian literature and film. And her husband hasn't started an affair yet even though I thought they laid the seeds in the first episode. 

Last year we had snow which seems to help us get through - the brightness and cloaking makes the light different for a while. Perhaps in February we'll have a change.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

OMG Something gross happened at the supermarket

In the prologue of this post I am going to fess up to having a mouse problem at home (this makes me feel itchy, repulsed, afraid to venture forth into the kitchen without first switching the lights on for five minutes ahead of going in). The fact that there is, apparently, an epidemic of mouse infestations brings no comfort. My multiple-pronged defence includes poison bate stations (even though the smell of dead rodent can be pungent and they usually end up under the floorboards out of reach), electronic traps that seal and kill once a mouse is trapped, humane traps and a clearly rubbish sonic deterrent. There was an article about this in the Guardian money section last weekend about this very issue.

Anyway. Today I got up early to go to the supermarket before going to Pop's for brunch. Grabbed the shopping bags, stashed them in my bag and headed off. Shopped. Got to the check out. Got one bag out and started packing groceries. Needed the other bag - got it out and unfolded it. This launched a dead mouse out of the folds onto the supermarket floor. Argh gross, I winced. Looked up and caught the eye of an amused bystanding customer. Became extremely embarrassed. Whispered to the checkout man that there was a dead mouse on the floor. He was repulsed but covered it with a plastic bag and dragged it out of the way. I very quickly threw all my remaining stuff into the bag and ran out of the store. I might not be able to go there anymore. I chucked out the mouse bag. And secretly hope that was the only mouse, however unlikely that is. Mortified!

Sunday, 8 January 2012


At the junction of Green Lanes and the road from Sainsburies, McDonalds and Harringay Shopping Arena a police van has cornered an estate car and the officers are arresting the driver and passengers. Causing a traffic blockage. All the last minute people from a variety of shops are witness. After it all seems to be under control one of the detainees makes a break for it running towards the arena car park (which is raised up above street level). Two of the officers take chase. Dodging between cars at the stop lights. One slips and rolls between two stationery cars. Shit. A few assembled pedestrian witnesses titter. He gets up and follows up to the car park where the first officer has the escapee trapped on the edge of the carpark barrier holding him by the clothes to stop him leaping off into the throng below. Together the officers bend him inhalf over the barrier, head down on one side. Two more vans arrive to transport the prisoners. The one bent over struggles with the detaining officer to bring his head back up. They wait there, straining against one another bodies crossed over the barrier. Sunday drama.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New years day

The street is quiet where normally there would be bustle. It's the universal day of hangover. A hush has descended, no sharp noises, late rising. On the top deck of the bus a crowd of italian crusties are coming home from a rave of some sort - stink of stale beer, sleeping, muddy shoes and trouser bottoms. Some are still drinking. I remember the feeling of coming home in the morning - the excitement of the night died as the first grey glimmer of morning crept in. The stark reality of venue, companions, tiredness rises up to meet you. Travelling home you feel dirty and over-dressed for the daytime. Try not to catch the eye of the ladies going to church. Good times but I don't miss them or the lost day-after. 

Happy 2012.